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Four Days in Western Crete

Kansas City...
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Four Days in Western Crete

So I am already planning our return to Greece for 2015

since we've already seen Eastern/Central Crete, now I'm ready to tackle Western Crete.

The only thing I know for sure that we want to do is visit Sougia and take the hike to Lissos. Aside from wandering around Chania and perhaps a day trip to Rethymnon, I'm not sure exactly what else to do. I think it would be neat to visit the western coastline and thereby completing the cycle of all four coasts of the island. We're not interested in beaches, but if there are some interesting Archeological sites that we need to see, I'd love to know your opinions.

Explore Crete has a few listed that sound interesting (Aptera, Falassarna, Kissamos)

thanks.

Nanaimo, Canada
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1. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

Hi Brent. I see you have caught the Greece bug and are ready to return.

Will you be flying in to Chania or Heraklion. If you arrive in Heraklion you can rent a car and drive to Rethymnon. It can easily take a couple of days to wander the harbour, old town and fortezza.

From Rethymnon you can go to Chania. Again a couple of days just to enjoys the old town and harbour. Chania is perfect for day excursions. Aptera is one of our favourite sites. It has over 1800 years of settlement which is spread out over the mountain top. Our favourite site was the vaulted Roman Cisterns. We walked through them and were enchanted by the sound of the flocks of birds flying through.

Samaria gorge is the principal activity in this area. It is a 16 km hike down a spectacular gorge. You need to take the bus to the top of the gorge hike down meet the ferry and come to Chora Sfakion for the bus back to Chania. Since you are looking at Sougia I believe there is an excursion to the top of the gorge from there so you can walk down and meet a ferry back to Sougia.

This whole south coast area is great for hiking.

You can also take the excursion boat from Kissamos to Balos and Gramovossa. Unfortunately the beaches are the highlight on this trip but there is a hike up to the Pirate fortress at Gramovossa.

You can also head further west to Falasarna. There is some surf there thats fun to play in and there is an ancient site in the area.

From there we left Chania and headed south to the Libyan sea. Palechora is a nice village to visit. When you get to Sougia you can take the ferry along the south coast to Aggia Romouli, loutro and over to Chora Sfakion and back.

After that you can head back towards Rethymnon and then south again to Prevali. You can visit the monastery and hike down to the famous palm beach with the river. Even if you don't care for beaches this one is unique.

Continuing east you can visit the lion fountains at Spili. I am afraid thats as far as we ever got but there is Aggia Galini and the Minoen ruins further east. Someone else can describe them.

Here is an album of our visits to Southwest Crete. Pretty much all of these places are in the album.

Western Crete flickr.com/photos/…

Kansas City...
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2. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

no idea on arrival, this will be part of a 2 week trip and I'm not sure if it will be at the beginning or the end of the trip. probably fly/boat into heraklion, but chania is also an option I suppose. I'm not sure how keen we are on the Samarian Gorge, though of course that is the big attraction. We did Gorge of the Dead and Zakros last year and that was pretty enough. The hike to Lissos is going to be the big hiking excursion for us.

London, United...
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3. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

The walk from Sougia to Lissos is varied and beautiful. It's not a long walk - the "official" estimate is 1.5 hours. I've done it several times, and it usually takes me two hours, but I go slow - deliberately as well as necessarily. The site itself is magical, and there is plenty to see there: the Aesklepius temple, the Roman tombs, two churches, and bits and pieces of ruins everywhere - I'd say it's the most interesting archaeological site in the area. And there is a rather nice beach. It's really a full day out, especially if you walk back, but if you don't want to walk you can arrange with Captain George to be picked up and taken back to Sougia by boat.

Another great walk from Sougia is the Agia Irini gorge, which is almost as beautiful as the Samaria gorge but never crowded - I've walked through it and seen only two or three other walkers. If you're staying in Sougia. You can get to the head of the gorge by bus, and walk all the way back to Sougia (the last hour or so is by quiet road) or, if you want to drive you can leave the car at Agia Irini and at the end of the gorge phone for a taxi to take you back to Agia Irini to pick it up.

Sale, United Kingdom
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4. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

Hi Brent - glad to see that your quick tour last year wasn't enough ;)

Let me have a think about this and get back to you!

Edited: 24 January 2014, 23:42
Sale, United Kingdom
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5. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

There are some great suggestions above, probably more than enough to fill your time, but I'll just add a few more:

For a spectacular drive, go from Chania (or Rethymnon) to Chora Sfakion. If you want to do a shorter and logistically easier gorge walk than Samaria, then you could do Imbros - leave your car at the start, in the small village of the same name, walk down and get a taxi from Kourtamides back to your car.

Even if you don't want to walk Samaria, drive up there at about lunchtime (to miss all the coaches) and look at the fantastic views. There is a viewing platform there, and also a café.

I seem to remember the word 'leisurely' isn't in your vocabulary ;) but just in case, for a leisurely lunch, drive to lake Kournas, just inland from Georgioupolis, in between Rethymnon and Chania.

Take a visit to Arkadi monastery near Rethymnon.

Here are some of my photos from 2011:

http://tinyurl.com/npotcr4

Open them individually to see a description on the bottom left

Edited: 25 January 2014, 12:10
Stevenage, United...
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6. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

If you only have four days, then you will need to plan very carefully, you will barely scratch the surface in four days, we have been visiting the Chania area since 1993, and still find new things. Get copies of good guide books as early as you can, (personal choices Rough guide to Crete, and Landscapes of Western Crete) and have fun planning. Always remember that you will have to be flexible and have some places you will be prepared to skip if you have to. Have fun, that's the object of the exercise. - You can always come back again, I bet you will if you can.

Kansas City...
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7. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

i was thinking about taking the boat to the bottom of Samarian Gorge, I don't know, I really would like to hike it, but not in leu of doing something that I might miss. Of course, if it's up to me, we'll be back again after this trip, there's something about Crete that just seems magical, and I would love to visit it again and again and again.

Nanaimo, Canada
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8. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

Brent since you appear to be interested in Sougia it will be an easy trip to catch the ferry to Aggia Roumouli and see the coastline and you can walk part way up the gorge without being committed to do the whole thing.

The down side of this is you will probably use up two days of your holiday one at Sougia and one for the ferry day. Will you be able to relax that long without having an attack of wanderlust.

Edited: 27 January 2014, 16:43
Kansas City...
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9. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

ok, so here's an idea, what if we would hike the Gorge, and then take the ferry to Sougia

and then do Lissos. is that still 2 days or is it now 3? I would not be opposed to doing 5 days in crete instead of 4. the only things we have planned are a combination of Crete/Rhodes/Lesvos, however we can figure out how to do it. Matt Barrett seems to think there's weeks and weeks of stuff to keep us occupied on Lesvos, and I would like to see it, but I doubt it's a whole lot more than a few neat towns, some pretty beaches and good food. meh. we did 18 days last time, that would mean we could do 5 days in Crete, 3 days on Rhodes and 5 days on Lesvos, but that doesn't account for the travels days.

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10. Re: Four Days in Western Crete

>what if we would hike the Gorge, and then take the ferry to Sougia and then do Lissos. is that still 2 days or is it now 3?

It's three. Assuming you are staying Chania, you would take the morning bus to Omalos, walk down the gorge, and take the ferry to Sougia. You'd spend the night in Sougia and do the Lissos walk the next day, but without an expensive taxi back to Chania you'd have to stay another night in Sougia: if previous years are anything to go by, which they probably are, there is only one bus a day, at 7 am (and no bus, usually, on Sundays).

The other snag in this plan is that unless you are super fit, you may (probably will) be too tired to walk to Lissos and back the next day. So it may not be such a good plan.

As for "missing something", with only four days in Western Crete you're going to miss masses of things, so it's not really worth worrying about. So if you really want to do the Samaria walk, then go for it.

>I would not be opposed to doing 5 days in crete instead of 4.<

Now you're talking. I wouldn't take Matt Barrett too seriously on the topic of Lesvos - he lives (or has lived) there part of the time, and loves it very much (the way some of us here love Crete) and it's a lovely island, but there isn't nearly as much of interest on Lesvos as there is on Crete. That is - more or less - a fact, not just an opinion. We spent two weeks there years ago, and liked it, but it doesn't hold a candle to Crete (now that IS an opinion).

My suggestion would be to spend 7 days in Crete, and 3 each on Rhodes and Lesvos. You won't regret it.